By Brad Snook, Co-Chair of Surfrider Foundation San Luis Obispo
Supervisor Lynn Compton, a SLO County Supervisor, is wrong to deny SLO County the federal funding of cultural education, marine research, and a new local stakeholder effort that a Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary could bring. It’s Federal funding! Why wouldn’t a coastal supervisor, like Lynn Compton, support the Sanctuary, too? Supervisor Compton says she is concerned about “local control”.
Supervisor Compton’s district, which is the coastal section of southern SLO County, is pivotal in decisions on whether SLO County will choose to protect the quality of its air, water, and county land. Is Supervisor Compton speaking for special interests like Philipps 66 and the oil and gas industry whose concern isn’t “local control”, but “controlling the locals”? As locals, control of our shared resource belongs to all of us. Ours is a common truth, as is the history of this coastline, and it’s alarming to hear Supervisor Compton echo alt-facts when dismissing the opportunities a Sanctuary will bring.
Thousands of Sanctuary supporters are locals, too. We share a connection to this coast, the central coast’s culture, its history. Surfrider SLO joined many others on a path toward Sanctuary designation in recognition of our county’s stewardship of the sea and coast because our civilization places many unnecessary impacts upon the ocean. Stewardship is good, and a sound federal investment in protecting our ocean recreation and other resources from the devastating impacts of offshore oil drilling and seismic testing would benefit us all.
Our chapter seeks to promote a thriving marine ecosystem. We recognize that SLO County doesn’t have the jurisdiction to do that on its own, so Supervisor Compton should show her support for this protection by supporting this community’s National Marine Sanctuary designation effort.
Many of the benefits of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary are listed on the website , where thousands have gone learn more about the Sanctuary and to pledge their support. The Sanctuary does not regulate fishing. The sanctuary bans seismic testing, which fishers have joined us and others world-wide in opposition. However, the ocean is not only a fishery or a place to dump pollutants. The commercial fishing industry (whether local or global), the fossil fuel industry, or other polluting interests cannot claim “control” of our shared marine resources which all Sanctuary stakeholders will strive to protect.
Prior Tuesday, February 7th, we urge you to show your support for the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary by coming to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, February 7th at 9:00am, at the SLO Board of Supervisors Chambers: 1055 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo. If you are unable to make it to the meeting, please send an e-mail to all Supervisors, referencing Agenda Item #3 (2/7/17 BOS meeting), asking the Supervisors to vote “No” on the “Resolution to Oppose the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary”. It’s that easy!